As of last week, about 14,500 Ukrainians had applied to come to the United States under a humanitarian parole program that allows Ukrainians to remain with U.S. sponsors.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration wants most Ukrainians whose lives have been devastated by Russia’s invasion of their country to stay in Europe. But in March, his government announced it expected as many as 100,000 Stay and work in the United States for up to two years.

The “Unity for Ukraine” program kicked off on April 25, and potential sponsors must upload details about their employment and assets. Applicants must pass identity and security checks in order to travel to the United States and be considered for admission.

The plan to help Ukrainians flee the war comes as pressure on the Biden administration continues to allocate more military aid to Ukraine and impose more sanctions on Russia. According to the United Nations, more than 5.8 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the February 24 invasion.

On March 3, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would offer 18-month temporary protected status to Ukrainians already in the country.

The Ukrainian joint program brings hope to Iryna Bashynskyy of Portland, Oregon. Bashynskyy has been trying to get her niece Jana out of Ukraine since February. Now, Bashynskyy is collecting documents, including her tax returns and bank statements.

“It was a hustle and bustle,” Bashynskyy told Reuters. “But I’ll try to get it done.”

For security reasons, Yana asked that only her name be revealed.

“It is necessary to escape somehow,” Yana, 23, said through an interpreter at her apartment in Kyiv. “I’m afraid of my life, my future. Because you don’t know where the bomb is going to be dropped, when it’s going to be dropped, what’s going to happen.”

Marina Shepelsky, a lawyer in New York, received hundreds of calls from relatives in Ukraine. During the first month and a half of the Russian invasion, Shepelsky — herself a Ukrainian refugee whose family fled the Soviet Union in 1989 — advised them to apply for tourist visas.

“Now I kind of discourage it,” Shepelsky said, adding that it provides a “better position” for Ukraine to unite.

Nearly 3,500 Ukrainians were granted temporary U.S. visas for tourism or business in March, up from about 900 in February, according to State Department statistics.

Many Ukrainians have also been flying to Mexico and applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border by land.

The U.S. has allowed hundreds of Ukrainians to apply for asylum at the border despite coronavirus pandemic-era restrictions, prompting condemnation from human rights groups denouncing the fact that asylum seekers from other countries are being turned away , and shed light on what Ukrainians say bringing people into the U.S. is a complicated legal process.

As of April 25, when Unity for Ukraine went live, Ukrainians at the southwest border without a valid visa or pre-authorization to travel to the United States through Unity Ukraine could be denied entry, the Department of Homeland Security said.

The Associated Press reported last week that some refugees arriving at the U.S. border in Tijuana were told they would no longer be admitted.

Leonard Mogul is seeking a spouse immigrant visa for the woman he married in a nonsectarian, 30-minute Zoom wedding in early March. Her wedding ring is the one he bought her for Chinese New Year in Cancun. He had tried a tourist visa earlier and got an appointment for a visa interview in late September.

“I don’t want her to be alone in Europe for that long,” said Mogul, who is applying for a partner visa and has no plans to apply for United Ukraine.

Scottsdale, Arizona, dance teacher Artem Plakhotnyi has been trying for weeks to book emergency visas for his sister-in-law and her four-year-old twins. Four days after Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine, his cousin and his 9-year-old daughter died while trying to flee Kharkiv, he said. After several attempts, he boarded a flight to Warsaw and then to Tijuana with his relatives, where they applied for and were granted humanitarian parole last month.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are camping in Mexico City, waiting for the U.S. government to allow them to enter the country.

As of last week, about 500 evacuees were waiting in large tents under the scorching sun in a dusty field east of the Mexican capital. The camp is only open for a week, with 50 to 100 people arriving every day.